The Burton Working Stiff, spec wise, seems like a more tapered Dump Truck (formerly Gate Keeper) but when you get it on snow the softer flex and core make it a very different ride. It’s got a touch of the short fatty feel combined with a more traditional freeride/ snow surfy not just for powder ride.
Conditions: A surprisingly fun off and on wet snow day at Bachelor.
Riders: James, Jimbo, Tim, Peter
Boots: Burton Almighty, Adidas Tactical ADV, Burton Rover
Bindings: Burton Genesis
Set Up: 18 front -3 back approx 22.5″ wide
Approximate Weight: Felt light for how thick it is in places but overall on the light side of normal.
Flex: Feels almost soft in the tail, a medium flex between the feet and then a med/stiff flex in the nose. It’s a very interesting flex. If you butter off the tail you will think this board is park soft and then off the nose, it still butters well enough but it’s not as easy as the tail. Very diverse flex throughout the board.
Sizing: The Burton Family Tree Working Stiff is marked as a board for Large bindings on Burton’s site but it easily turned for me with medium bindings on and size 9 boots. Peter felt it to be more on the mid/wide side but I feel it could work with size 9ish boots but it’s probably best with 10-11 boots like Burton says on the site. It’s probably not best for anyone who normally fits wide boards the best. After looking at Burton’s sizing it seems like the 154 is the right call for us even if there were other sizes.
On Snow Feel: The Burton Working Stiff very family tree and that directional camber with a bit of early rise rocker in the nose is a great camber profile. It’s gradually stiffening flex makes the board we rode feel much more playful underfoot than many of the other Family Tree line boards. It’s a very surfy ride that can butter and play around which some might appreciate.
Edge Hold: We had a lot of soft wet snow so edge hold was not an issue. However, based on all the Family Tree boards we rode over the years I and the few hard patches we had is this will grip a little less than the other boards in this line but still be good in anything but hard to icy snow. It’s a good snow board.
Turn Initiation: So we were divided here. Peter felt it was a little slow where I felt it was just normal. Peter and I are similar specs so that usually doesn’t happen. I felt I could take this down a tight tree line with my size 9’s but Peter felt his 8.5’s would rather be on an open bowl with the Burton Family Tree Working Stiff. Jimbo and Tim with their size 11’s felt the board turned quickly and easily.
Turning Experience: The overall fun factor when it comes to turning with the Burton Working stiff is there. It’s not typical for a Snowsurfer/Freeride kind of board because of the soft flex off the tail and the interesting core but like all the directional camber rides there is some pop so it’s a pleasant turn as long as you are ok with a little less drive out of the turn off the tail as you would have with let’s say the Dump Truck.
Carving: You can rail hard carving turns with the Working stiff as long as the snow is soft but it’s not as much fun to carve as many directional boards in Burton’s line for the reasons mentioned above in Turning Experience. The tail is great to butter off and wheelie up on so it’s a decent enough of a compromise.
Skidded Turns: Not for beginners or even intermediates. Even with the softer flex, it doesn’t feel intimidating to skid a turn as you get off your game but it could invite an intermediate rider into a higher confidence level, catch off the tail and then slam you down. So for an advanced to expert rider, this is a mellow ride. It feels like a slightly more forgiving version of camber. Even with the soft flex in the tail, which is appreciated, it’s not a forgiving ride compared to some other profiles. It’s more forgiving than let’s say the Dump Truck or Flight Attendant but not ideal for the person looking for an easy ride to skid out when you are off your game.
Speed: The softer tail takes a lot of confidence out of your bombing game. Well, at least it did for us. We have ridden other boards that are softer in the tail like the Rossignol XV but that didn’t detract too much from bombing. Maybe it was because of the bigger size and our back foot was not as close to the tail as the Working Stiff.
Uneven Terrain: It’s a master for those that ride a crowded resort from the first chair to the painful last. If you have to weave in and out of bumps to get to the good stuff this is a great board for that. The thicker core doesn’t translate into a more unforgiving ride. It feels like the thinner core of the Skeleton Key which is great for dealing with uneven, messy snow.
Powder: There is amazing float with a -50mm set back on side cut. Not sure what the set back on board is but I bet it’s massive. We felt like we were pretty far back on that soft tail. That combined with the big wide nose, -20mm of taper and that little bit of rocker in the nose this will float like a champ. The only other boards that will float better are pure powder boards with no camber in it and a massive amount of rocker. It’s great to have a pure powder board but this could easily be your pure powder board that also rips up groomers well. You get a much more balanced ride for an ever so slight drop in the effortless float to ride this.
Switch: Not very doable switch. It’s better than a real swallow tail but still pretty lopsided riding the other direction. If you want a directional board that can ride switch pretty well the Flight Attendant is the better call.
Pipe: We didn’t ride the pipe but I think it would be ok slashing walls on softer days for sure.
Jumps: The pop off the tail has an easy snap but not usually that springy snap that you expect from Burton’s directional camber boards.
So overall it’s unique design and flex could appeal to some that like a surfy ride for groomers and powder but for most you might enjoy the traditional flex and shape of the Dump Truck or Skeleton key better. Still we liked the ride and would of liked to spend more time on it.